# Is chirality absolute or relative?

While going through some questions on chirality and optical isomerism, I came across this compound:

Note that I have marked 3 carbons as $$C_1,C_2,C_3$$

Its obvious that $$C_1,C_3$$ are chiral carbons.

$$C_2$$ is not a chiral carbon as it has the same group above and below it( With respect to the picture)

However a thought struck me that chiral carbon meant that 4 different groups are attached to it.

But what exactly does same group mean?

Does it mean that even the spatial arrangement of the groups should be different?

Or does it not matter?

So if spatial arrangement mattered, then the compound I have mentioned would have a chiral $$C_2$$ carbon for specific configurations around $$C_1$$ and $$C_3$$ carbons.

• C1 and C3 are chiral atoms, and are of the variety R or S. As a consequence, RR and SS are optically active. But the combinations RS and SR are optically inactive. They are meso compounds. Jun 21, 2020 at 19:30
• Even in the meso compound, C2 is pseudochiral.
– Zhe
Jun 21, 2020 at 22:02
• C2 is achirotopic but stereogenic with a configuration of r (lower case). Jun 21, 2020 at 22:47

Yes, spatial configuration of attached groups matters. Meaning different stereo configuration of $$C_1$$ and $$C_3$$ may render $$C_2$$ either chiral or not: